About the Author

Thomas Ray Floyd was born in 1953 in Simpson County, Mississippi, the son of Roy Thomas Floyd and Lina Sue Shows Floyd. Thomas Ray's mother was a member of a Primitive Baptist church, and he cut his teeth on the doctrines of distinguishing grace.

When he was a small boy, his father was converted to Christ and became a member of a Missionary Baptist Church. Thomas Ray joined the church of his father when he was 13 years old, and thought of himself as a Christian. The doctrines of grace that he had heard as a child continued to be precious to him and when he became an adult, he joined a Primitive Baptist Church. When he was 27, Thomas Ray made his first effort to preach the gospel in public and was ordained to the full functions of the ministry in 1985. In 1986 he was convinced under the preaching of Rolfe Barnard (by tapes from Mt. Olive Tape Library), the written sermons of Spurgeon, and the ministry of Elder Zack Guess that he had been a false professor and cried out in agony of soul to the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy and truly save him. And He did! Floyd then began to preach the gospel as he had been taught of the Lord.

Floyd has pastored churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee and until recently was pastor of a church plant known as "Particular Baptist Fellowship." He and his wife Brenda presently attend Zion Baptist Church at Polkville, Mississippi, pastored by Elder Glen Hopkins. The pulpit ministry of Zion Baptist Church can be heard at Sermonaudio.com.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Consolidation of Blogs

Dear Readers,

For the past several years we have been maintaining two separate, but identical blogs for the Narrow Way articles. As of today, we are eliminating that redundancy and will only be posting the articles on our mirror site, which can be found at  mt714.blogspot.com.

Brother Floyd continues to author all the articles and may be contacted directly from that site.

Thanks and God bless,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Remember the Sabbath Day

(Article for publication week of 3-3- AD 2016)

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is in thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11).
The first thing that we learn from the Fourth Commandment is that our time is not our own. God created us for His glory, not for our own glory. Every man belongs to God by creation. Since we are His property He has the authority to command us in every aspect of our lives. The Christian is doubly the property of God because we have been purchased with the blood of Christ, and redeemed from the ruin of Adam's Fall (I Corinthians 6:20). This is a lesson we will do well to learn soon, and the sooner the better. It is a terrible sin to imagine that you can do whatever you want without regard to what God has commanded.  Every day, and every moment of our lives are lived under the gaze of Jehovah God who created us, and now sustains us. "In Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
Our catechism asks us the question, "what is the chief end of man?" Our prescribed answer is "the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." The Fourth Commandment teaches us to consider our purpose in life, and the proper motive for everything that we do. If you do not desire to glorify God, then I am quite certain that you do not now enjoy God. And if you do not now enjoy God, I am sure you will not enjoy Him in eternity. The Fourth Commandment requires us to seriously reflect on the very purpose of our existence. Unconverted people in reality have no real purpose in life. Dear reader if your only purpose in life is to seek temporal pleasure, then you are of all men most miserable. Right now is the beginning of forever, and it behooves us to begin right now glorifying God and enjoying Him with our time.
Note well, the Fourth Commandment not only commands us to rest one day in seven, but it also positively commands us to work six days a week. The command to work six days a week is of equal importance with the command to rest the seventh day. Our work should prepare us for our worship, and our worship should prepare us for our work. God created Man to work (Genesis 2:15), and the Fourth Commandment reminds us of our original creation and the purpose of our existence. We are to give glory to God in our earthly callings by labouring with a sense of duty to our Great God.  So , you see we may break the Fourth Commandment as much by idleness, as by unlawful labour on the Sabbath.
The inspired Psalmist, Moses, prays in Psalm 91:12, "so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." If you will learn to rightly number your days, then honour the Lord with your time, by remembering the sabbath day to keep it holy, and by being faithful in your vocation. You are not your own, and your time is not your own. Submit yourself to God and His precepts in all that you do, every moment of every day. This is the underlying principle of the Fourth Commandment.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Fourth Commandment

(Article for publication week of 2-25- AD 2016)

"Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11).
This week we begin a new series for the Narrow Way on the Fourth Commandment. I feel compelled to write on this subject, first, because there is much misunderstanding among professed Christians regarding the fourth commandment. This very day a precious brother approached me as to whether the Christian Church is observing the right day as the sabbath. Secondly, I am compelled to write on this subject because it is one of the most neglected duties in our generation, and in our own part of the world, and one of the sins in which the modern church is most culpable. I lay much of the blame on the ministry for not teaching these things as they should. It is my prayer that the Lord will use our upcoming articles to provoke the Lord's people to be more diligent in their remembrance of the fourth commandment, and that the local ministry will be stirred to study this subject and teach it to their people.
The root of the problem regarding the sin of sabbath breaking is the antinomian spirit of the age. Antinomian means "against the law." Again, I lay most of the blame on the professed church, and especially on the ministry. The church in your day and mine has generally set aside the law of God, in contradiction to our Lord's words in Matthew 5:17 when He said, "think not I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." The Apostle Paul taught the same thing in Romans 3:31 when he wrote, "do we then make void the law, through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." But many church members and preachers will protest, "but Romans 6:14 says we are "not under the law, but under grace." They leave out the first half of the verse which says, "sin shall not have dominion over you." You cannot define sin without the law (I John 3:4).The context of Romans 6:14 will prove that what Paul means by saying we are not under the law is that we are not under the condemnation of the law, nor are we under the law for justification. But this text does not teach, nor does any other scripture teach, that the we are released from the law as a rule of life. The modern day church has changed the words of the old hymn to "Free from the law, oh blessed condition, now I can sin with God's permission"! Dear reader, though that may be the secret thought in your heart, and your attitude toward the law of God, it is completely against the word of God. As a warning to all you antinomians I direct you to our Lord's solemn words in Matthew 7:23 that on the Day of Judgment He will say to many, "depart from me, ye that work iniquity." The word "iniquity" is translated from the Greek "anomian," which means "no law" or "lawlessness." Our Lord gave a sober warning to all who break the least of the commandments and teach others so (Matthew 7:19).
Lord willing, in the coming weeks we shall show the perpetuity of the law (including and especially the fourth commandment), the change of the Sabbath to the first day of the week since our Lord's resurrection,  the proper observance of the Sabbath, the scriptural principles of work and rest, and perhaps some other aspects of the fourth commandment. May the Lord bless all my readers.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Without Price - Part 4

(Article for publication week of 2-18- AD 2016)

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).
For the past three weeks we have been declaring the freeness of salvation. Salvation is without price, first because it is of such infinite value that should God require anything from the sinner, no one could ever be saved. Secondly salvation is free because all men are spiritually bankrupt. Should God require one penny (spiritually speaking) from a sinner, again, none could be saved. Salvation is of infinite value, and we have nothing to pay, so God gives it as a free gift to the glory of His grace. Then thirdly, salvation is free because Christ has paid the price in full. Ultimately, this is the main reason that salvation is free, because the infinite price was paid by the Eternal Son of God on Calvary's cross. Salvation is free to the sinner, but it was at great cost to God.
Now, fourthly, and finally, we shall (with the help of the Holy Spirit) show you that salvation is "without price" in the glorious way that it actually becomes ours, that is by faith alone. I refer you to Ephesians 2:8-9 where we read "for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Salvation is received entirely by faith alone, apart from any human effort or merit. "It is of faith, that it might be by grace" we read in Romans 4:16. Saved by faith is practically synonymous with saved by grace.
Now, I will have you to note well that faith is not your contribution to the work of salvation. Indeed we have already shown that you are ten thousand talents in debt without a farthing to pay, and Christ has already paid the price in full. Sadly, faith is generally presented as a sinner's contribution to his own salvation. Misguided (and we fear unconverted) preachers have told their hearers that God has done all He can do, and now it is up to the sinner to make the decisive move by an act of his own "free will." Thus, the sinner is erroneously told that his faith is the deciding factor in his salvation. This is patently wrong, and we fear that many will perish in their sins unless they come to a Biblical understanding of saving faith.
Faith cannot be a sinner's contribution to salvation because there is no merit in faith. The blood of Christ is the only payment that God will ever receive as payment for your sins and my sins. The greatest faith of the dearest saints cannot atone for sin. "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus" we sometimes sing. Sinner, your faith cannot take away your sins! Your repentance cannot atone for sin. Your good works and efforts to reform cannot take away your sins. If your sins were not purged by the precious blood of Christ, you must be forever damned! There is no merit in faith, nor is there any strength in faith. Saving faith is an empty hand whereby a poor, bankrupt, quickened sinner simply receives the infinite gift of salvation. You cannot come to Christ any other way than as a bankrupt sinner. God will allow no boasting in His presence. As Isaac Watts wrote, "no more my God, I boast no more, of all the duties I have done. I quit the hopes I held before, to trust the merits of Thy Son." Or as another expressed it, "just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me; and that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God I come"! Or as dear Joseph Hart said, "Come Ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore. Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity, joined with power! Let not conscience make you linger, nor of fitness fondly dream. All the fitness He requireth is to feel your need of Him"! Poor sinner, do you feel your need of Christ? Then come to Him this instant, trusting not in anything you have done or felt, but trusting in Him and His righteousness alone for your salvation. He has sweetly promised that He will cast none out who come to Him!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Without Price - Part 3

(Article for publication week of 2-11- AD 2016)

"Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).
The Old Testament gospel herald proclaims that salvation is free. We see from the text that the Old Testament saints had the gospel of free grace just as we do, although it is clearer now that Christ has come and now that the New Testament has been written. Free Salvation was proclaimed to God's elect among the Jews under the Old testament just as it is to us today.
We observed in the two previous articles that salvation is free first, because it is such a valuable gift that none of us could ever pay the price, and secondly, because we are all bankrupt, ten thousand talents in debt and not a farthing to pay, What a glorious gospel we have to preach! Salvation is of infinite value, and none of us have a penny to pay, so God freely gives it "without money, and without price."
But we proceed this week to show, thirdly,that salvation is free to sinners because the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the price in full. I direct your attention to Acts 20:28 where we read that God hath purchased the Church with His blood. Redemption is spoken of here in terms of the marketplace. Certain Fullerites and Arminians have scornfully referred to this as a "commercial" view of the atonement, but that is the language of Acts 20:28. Go read it yourself. (You preachers pay special attention to your duty as given there.) The death of Christ paid for all the sins of all His elect forever. There was a debt that we owed to God because of our sins. You will remember that the Model Prayer speaks of sin in terms of indebtedness (see again Matthew 6:12 then compare Luke 7:42). When we had nothing to pay, Christ came and poured out His blood as the price of our redemption.  We have been redeemed, not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:18-19).
Now, I say unto you that God the Father was satisfied with the price that His Son paid for our redemption. Yea, not I, but the Holy Writ says it. Let us read in Isaiah 53:11, "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." God the Father is satisfied because His Son finished the work of redemption that was appointed to Him from all eternity (see John 17:4). All of our efforts and works and attempts at righteous living are nothing but filthy rags before our Holy God. Isaiah 64:6 says all our righteousnesses are but "filthy rags." What do you think the president of Trustmark or Peoples Bank would say if you went and tried to pay off your mortgage with a big pile of dirty rags? Why, he would either laugh you out of the bank, or else call the folks over at Whitfield (that is where the State insane asylum is for all my out of state readers). Why do you think God is any more impressed with your so-called righteousness?
Well, poor awakened sinner, the good news is that you don't have to pay anything for salvation because the Eternal Son of God acting, as our Substitute and Surety assumed all our obligations and has paid the price in full. Yes that old hymn is gospel truth--"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe." Poor sinner, there is nothing for you to do to help pay for your sin debt because Christ has paid it all. I pray the Holy Spirit will help you to believe that and you may rejoice in a finished salvation. Christ has paid the price of priceless salvation, so it is "without money and without price" to all who repent of their sins and come to Him by faith.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Without Price - Part 2

 (Article for publication week of 2-4- AD 2016)

"Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).
Last week we showed that the gospel invitation is extended to all who are thirsty, spiritually. Those who are dead in their sins have no spiritual thirst and are not interested in this invitation. Then we began to consider that salvation is absolutely free. It is without price, first of all because salvation is a priceless gift.
Secondly, salvation is free because all mankind is spiritually bankrupt. All of us are ten thousand talents in debt and have not a farthing to pay. Our Lord illustrated your case and mine this way in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:23-35. We have run ourselves hopelessly into debt to God's justice by our sins. We were born as spiritual debtors because our father Adam, who is the federal head of the whole human race sinned against God and we all sinned in him Romans 5:12, 19). We were born with the nature of our fallen head and were sinners the moment we were conceived (see Psalm 51:5). Being fallen and natural sinners, we began to practice sin as soon as we were born for the scripture says that we came forth from the womb speaking lies (Psalm 58:3). Sin is analogous to indebtedness as we see in Matthew 6:12. Every day you are adding to your spiritual indebtedness by your continual sins. Furthermore your imagined righteousness is only "splendid sin" (in the words of another), according to Isaiah 64:6. Your (supposed) good works are abominable to God unless they follow after justification and are such as God has actually commanded and are performed from a principle of love by the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit. Dear Reader, do you realise that you are hopelessly ruined and bankrupt before God? Do you realise that you are indeed "ten thousand talents" in debt, and "not a farthing" to pay. In today's money, we could say ten trillion dollars in debt and not a penny to pay. If God required us to pay for salvation, not one human being could ever be saved for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
But praise the Lord! God does not require any payment from a poor sinner for salvation. He freely gives salvation "without money and without price." Salvation is a free gift from first to last (Ephesians 2:8-9). He justifies His people "freely by His grace" (Romans 2:24). For some reason, man in his wretched pride would rather that salvation be (at least in some measure) by his own works or efforts. Proud man thinks he can do something, or be something, or believe something, or decide something, or pay something, or offer something, or say something  to move the Sovereign of the universe to accept him and receive him on the basis of his own performance. But my friend, I want you to know God will have none of that. You will either be saved freely by His grace without money and without price, or you will perish in your sins and be damned forever.
Now here is what every sensible sinner ought to do. Go to God in the name of His Son and declare your spiritual insolvency. Admit your bankrupt condition. Renounce all your sins and all your righteousness too. Throw yourself on God's mercy that is found in His Blessed Son. Come and receive salvation without price. Come to Christ with nothing in your hand. Come and plead the righteousness of Him Who bled and died to pay for the sins of His people and now lives forever to intercede for all who come to Him by faith. He has promised that he will never cast away those who come to Him. may the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see your spiritual bankruptcy and grant you faith to believe in the Saviour.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Without Price

(Article for publication week of 1-28- AD 2016)

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come,  buy wine and milk without money, and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).
The Book of Isaiah, especially the last twenty seven chapters is the gospel in the Old Testament. Here is the voice of the gospel herald hearkening to us with a glad announcement. He begins with "ho" to awaken our attention and to announce that he has a message worthy of our consideration and acceptation.
First, notice to whom the gospel invitation is extended. It is to those who are "thirsty." Now, we know that this refers not to natural thirst, but rather to spiritual thirst. This is an evidence of spiritual life. Those who are spiritually dead are not spiritually thirsty any more than a naturally dead corpse is interested in the cold water from the spring. Even so the gospel invitation is addressed to all those who have been quickened by the Holy Spirit and awakened to their lost condition and as such thirst for the living waters that only Christ can supply. So the Lord promised, "blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). So, we also read in Revelation 22:17, "and the Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Does my column this week come to one in such a case? Dear Reader, are you thirsty for that salvation that only Christ can give and that will satisfy a soul desperate for spiritual water? Well, hear my text--- salvation is absolutely free, "without money and without price."
Salvation has to be free, firstly, because it is priceless. The value is of such infinite worth that were it not free no one could ever obtain it. How would you place a value on your soul being saved from the everlasting fires of hell? How would you place a value on being saved from the power of sin over your benighted faculties? What value could ever be placed on being rescued from the pollution and filth of sin? What price tag could ever be placed on knowing Christ? How would you assess the value of the peace of mind that only Christ can give? What value could be placed on having an eternal inheritance reserved in heaven for you? What is it worth, say ye, to be right with God? What price tag would you place on being sanctified and perfected forever in Christ? These are just a few of the spiritual blessings that are treasured up in Christ for His people, and they are, I assert priceless and above estimation for their value. I suppose our infinitely Great and Omniscient God could tell us their true worth, but it would be greater than our human minds could fathom. So, since salvation is of such infinite value as to be priceless, God just freely gives it "without money and without price"!
Now, I want you to think with me a minute about what an insult it must be to God when bankrupt sinners try to pay something for their salvation. God freely gives a priceless gift, but then some ignorant wretch supposes he will pay for it with his own good works or merits or personal righteousness. That is an insult to the High King of heaven! Dear reader, are you trying to earn salvation by doing good deeds, or giving alms to the poor, or dipping soup at the soup kitchen, or tithing to the church, or repeating prayers, or some other so-called good work? Some of these things may be all right if you are doing them out of love for God. But listen, good works have to come after salvation, not before. And none of these things, nor any real or imagined good work will ever pay for, or help pay for the salvation of your poor soul. So thirsty soul, come to the living fountain and buy without money and without price for the priceless gift of salvation is absolutely free.

Monday, January 18, 2016

White as Snow

(Article for publication week of 1-21- AD 2016)

" 'Come now, and let us reason together,' saith the LORD: 'though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool' " (Isaiah 1:18).

The Baptist pastor and commentator, John Gill, who was one of the most able Hebraists in the history of the Church tells us that our text is actually parenthetical. In the midst of renouncing the sins of national Israel, the inspired prophet reminds the elect remnant among them of the sovereign grace of God. There never was but a few of the Israelites who were truly saved, but God always preserves the remnant according to the election of grace, and encourages them by his gospel.

First, our text describes the heinousness of sin. "Your sins be as scarlet" and are "red like crimson." Dear reader, this describes you and me. We have all sinned and come short of God's glory. We have all "missed the mark" (the literal meaning of sin). We have all transgressed the law of God (the Biblical definition of sin). We have done that which we should have not have done, and we have failed to do all we should have done. We have not loved God with all our being, nor have we loved our neighbour as ourselves. We are all as an unclean thing. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. We are members of the rebellious race of Adam and God is set to punish such rebels as we. Furthermore, there are no "venial" sins. The "smallest" of sins deserve eternal punishment in hell. In reality there are no "small" sins. (However, there are some sins that do more harm to our fellows than others, but that is not our point today.)

Secondly, our text tells us that our sins are not hidden from God. Our sins are bright red (figuratively speaking). God's All Seeing Eye sees every sin you have committed and every evil thought you have ever had. Though you may have your sins well concealed from others they are open and naked before Him with Whom we have to do.

Thirdly, the text declares our enmity to God. As different as the pure snow from red blood, are we so far estranged from God. He made us in His Image, and by our sins we have distorted that image. The Fall, our nature, and our practice all have estranged us far from God and put us at enmity with the Thrice Holy God that created us.

Dear Reader, do you feel this awful plague in your soul? Well, here is good news! Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow! The blood of Christ washes away all the sins of those who believe in Him. Though a believer is still a sinner in and of himself, judicially he is, as our text declares, as "white as snow." God sees not the sins of His people, but the righteousness of their Saviour! When God says we shall be as white as snow, He is telling us that He sees no spot in us (Song of Solomon 4:7). There is no sin so great that the blood of Christ cannot wash it away. God's elect are as white as snow through Christ's imputed righteousness and shall stand forever before Him arrayed in their robes of white.

"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow"!

So, we see our text tells us of the completeness and thoroughness of God's saving grace by the redeeming blood of Christ. Dear Reader, if you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, you are this very moment white as snow in the eyes of your great God.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Remembering the Just

(Article for publication week of 1-14- AD 2016)

"The memory of the just is blessed" (Proverbs 10:7).
Next Monday, January 18, we in the Sovereign State of Mississippi will honour the memory of one of the most faithful Christians that God has ever saved, General Robert Edward Lee, Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. General Lee was actually born on January 19 (1807), but the legislature several years ago made the Monday nearest his birthday a State holiday so state employees could always have a three day weekend.
General Lee was descended from a long line of honourable men. His father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee was an officer in the Revolutionary War and served under George Washington. He also served his home state as governor for several terms. One of his relatives, Francis Lightfoot Lee was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. General Lee married Mary Custis, the great-grand daughter of George Washington. When General Lee said, "all the South has ever wanted is the Old Constitution as bequeathed to us by our forefathers," he was speaking of his own family who had been instrumental in the Founding of the American Republic.
Robert Edward Lee proved himself to be of great character from boyhood. It fell his lot to care for his widowed and invalid mother when only eleven years old. He grew up quick and had no time for play and frivolity. His mother and he were faithful members of the Episcopal Church. Of course in that day the Episcopal Church, especially in Virginia and the South still believed the Bible. The Episcopal Church that Robert E. Lee attended as a boy was the same one that George Washington attended, and was not "high church," but was distinctly Protestant and Puritan in its doctrine and practice. Robert E. Lee finished second in his class at West Point, and never received a single demerit.
General Lee first distinguished himself as a soldier in the Mexican War. General Winfield Scott said that he was the most able soldier in the United States Army, and said he was his own right arm in the Mexican War. General Lee's character and ability caused Abraham Lincoln to offer him the command of the whole Union Army when he made the decision to invade the South. Although Lee knew the odds were great against a Southern Victory, he refused Lincoln's offer. Had he accepted he would have had all this world has to offer- fame, wealth and power. He would no doubt have become president himself. Had he accepted Lincoln's offer the North would have had the most able General alive at that time and the North would have probably defeated the South in a few months. Although his heart was broken by the disunion of the country and the Northern Invasion of the South, he was not a reluctant Confederate. He said, "a union that can only be held together by bayonets has no attraction for me." He accepted defeat humbly and graciously and made many conciliatory statements and gestures after the Surrender. But when the Red Republicans treated the South as conquered provinces during reconstruction, General Lee said to Governor Stockdale of Texas, "Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die with my brave men with my sword in my hand." Contrary to some revisionist historians Robert E. Lee was thoroughly committed to the South and our Cause. He finally had to surrender after four years of distinguished service because he was completely surrounded with no food and no ammunition. The principles of just warfare he had learned at West Point dictated that he must surrender when there was no hope of victory and continuing would only mean unnecessary loss of life.
Volumes have been written about this distinguished Hero and his military skill and great character, but it is his Christian Character that I mostly want my children and grandchildren to know of. His labours for the salvation of his men were instrumental in the Great Revival that God sent down on the Confederate Armies in which upwards of 150,000 Southern Soldiers professed faith in Christ. General Lee promoted religion in his army first by his own example. Though a man of sterling character, and (compared to other men, not God's holy standard) practically without fault, his profession was, "I am only a poor sinner, trusting in Christ Alone for salvation." He also promoted piety in his army by issuing orders that only necessary duties be performed on the Sabbath. He was faithful in attendance of worship and preaching and promoted preaching in his Army. The last act of his life was to attend the vestry meeting of his church at which he personally pledged the funds that were lacking for the pastor's salary.
One of the most telling stories of General Lee's Christian Character was when after the War a large insurance company from up north offered him the presidency of their company at a salary of $50,000 a year (that would be equivalent to at least a million dollars a year in today's money). He replied that he could do them no good since he knew nothing of the insurance business. They told him he did not have to do anything, they just wanted his name associated with their company! He replied, "my name is all I have left, and it is not for sale." He chose rather to become president of Washington College and devote the rest of his life to educating the young men of the South. Next to my own father, General Lee is my hero and a man I would like to try to emulate as he followed the Saviour.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Sinner's New Year's Resolution

(Article for publication week of 1-7- AD 2016)

"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).
If you have not made a resolution for the New Year, let me suggest my text as a good one. Our text this week is filled with the sovereign grace of God and bright hope for your future. Here we have a glorious promise that God will pardon and save all who are willing to repent of their sins and flee to the Saviour of Sinners.
Let us consider the text in reverse order and consider first God's call to the wicked to repent. God takes no delight in the death of the wicked. He will certainly punish all those who refuse to repent, but He would rather you repent and be saved.  He is delighted when a poor sinner repents. The angels in heaven rejoice when the wicked forsake their wicked ways and return to God. The saints on earth rejoice when a fellow sinner repents and is brought home to the Father's House. Repentance is the result of the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit, so God delights in Himself as He beholds His grace effectually wrought in a sinner. God commands all men to repent (Acts 17:30) and He grants repentance to His elect (Acts 11:18). Our text calls upon you to repent of your sins and come to God through His Son. Though your sins are as scarlet they shall be white as snow when washed in the blood of the Lamb. There is no sin so small that it does not deserve eternal damnation, but there is no sin so great that it will not be forgiven to those who will truly repent. So why don't you this day resolve to forsake your wicked ways and return to your Creator?
Secondly, I urge you to resolve to seek the Lord while He may be found. Seek Him while He is near. God is not far away from you this moment. He is omnipresent (that means there is no where He is not), so He is very near everybody as Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Also, He is nearer to those who hear His word. You are reading a message from one of His little messenger boys right now, so He is near you by means of the gospel. But I want you to know He is nearest those to whom He sends His Spirit with all His quickening powers. Dear Reader is that Blessed Spirit dealing with you today? Is your heart broken by sin? Do you look back on the past year with many regrets and deep conviction of sin? Have you tried to impress God by keeping His Law and only met with failure after failure? Have you tried to improve your ways and only gotten worse? Have you tried leaving off this sin, or that sin and only found yourself falling headlong into other and worse sins? Do you really long to be free from sin? Do you desire to be free from sin and not simply escape Hell? More importantly, have you considered the Lovely Saviour and longed to rest in His Bosom? Well, I think the Holy Spirit must be dealing with you and that God is very, very near you. Seek Him while He is near and may be found.
My parting word this week is found in Matthew 7:7. If you will turn and read it you will see that the Dear Saviour has promised that all who truly seek shall surely find. Resolve today to seek the Lord until you find Him. You will find He is faithful and just to forgive and pardon your many sins and save your poor soul. I wish you would call me at 601-927-5070 and tell me when the Lord saves you!